Sometimes people you love have flaws. Take my friends Erin, Willie, and Jesse, for example: they’re Kentucky basketball fans, but I look past that flaw, because I love them, and they’re my friends. And Erin and Willie, as the Breedings, have written a great Christmas song, the sentiment of which is one that every college basketball fan can get behind: we all want 16 conference wins, thanks.
Kentucky fandom isn’t universal, but basketball is. Stream and download “Big Blue Christmas” below, and get yourself ready for the holidays and conference play all at once.
After several listens, I think I’m pretty into the new Head and the Heart song. I am definitely into the bass line. But Adam and I are still talking about it, so I will probably have more feelings later. That’s why you should have good friends who are also music nerds: you can talk out your feelings about new songs from bands you love.
Back in 2008, I met a bunch of kids from Greensboro who called themselves Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and with whose music shep. and I immediately fell in love with. Over the next two and a half years, we saw HGTR play probably upwards of 50 times, all over the Southeast. We drove to Norfolk to see them play in an Italian restaurant, if that tells you anything.
And in the spring of 2009, they were nice enough to let me hang out while they were working on what wouldn’t become their second album. I never really shared those photos here, as it was at the very beginning of this blog. It seems like a good time to dig them out, though, because HGTR has released those sessions, never before public, on Bandcamp as The Blood Beneath. What a title; these songs are that, really, because they never became that album, but they were recorded and developed here. The first time I heard “Wish It Was Easy” — not in these sessions, and which to my knowledge never made a studio record — it was in the Trekky Records living room, Matt and Stephen, acoustic and a cappella.
It’s a record that marks a very, very particular time to me, and a band that was instrumental to my early photography.
You can buy all of HGTR’s records digitally at their Bandcamp
It’s the summer of 1997, and the first boy I ever loved put “La La Love You” on a mix tape for me. It’s the summer of 2013, and he’s married (and he lives in Hoboken, to boot, so if you Google yourself, Tim Catts, you could email me), and I’m single (but I get to photograph the Breeders and the Violent Femmes, other bands he put on mixes for me, this fall), and there’s a new Pixies track.
Everyone else has already posted this, so the song probably isn’t new to you, but I can’t pass up a new Pixies song, in the summer, without posting it, and without thinking about Tim. Some bands just do that to you. Some people just do that to you.
It’s great, though, this song — it’s noise and fuss and fuzz and shake and shatter. It’s a snotty rock anthem for the summertime, for being lazy, for doing what you want to do. Something about it reminds me of “Slack Motherfucker”, and we get a new Superchunk record this summer, too. It’s like I’m 17 all over again.
Remember how I used to say needs more Kinks covers*? I still believe that, and this collaboration from Austin, Texas artists Shakey Graves, Wild Child, and Marmalakes meets my needs. Exceeds my needs. I still need more Kinks covers.
Those three Austin rockers are all on tour together in June. No North Carolina date, to my dismay, but dates are below, and make sure you go see them.
(* This is similar to the theory needs more Dave Hause, but very different from the Baton Rouge Corollary**. FYI.)
(** The Baton Rouge Corollary involves LSU baseball fans and drinking before noon on weekdays.)
The Outside City Limits Tour:
6/12 – Ft. Worth, TX @ The Live Oak
6/13 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door
6/14 – St. Louis, MO @ Plush
6/15 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
6/16 – Kansas City, MO @ The Riot Room
6/18 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
6/19 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House
6/20 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
6/21 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
6/22 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s 20 Lanes
6/23 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
6/25 – Washington, DC @ The Hamilton
One of the reasons that I find New York noise-pop artist Mike Tyler so terrifically charming is that he talks about music like I write about it: not quite on center, maybe with some strange comparisons, some unique sentence structure, words that are as oddly off-center and delightful as his music. On the subject of his newest 7″, the second single from his latest record, Tyler says:
My new single is such a lopsided seductive beast. Deep deep bass with a pop frosting and a growling lead yawp. It can be kind of sweet in places and then a dungeon-door-slamming-echoed-thud takes over; a contradiction in tones. It’s the boiled pot of the gumbo stew of black and white that is America; greed and innocence, joy and exhausted hustle. Might explain why we decided the packaging of the single would include an actual puzzle.
He’s spot on with that description; “Money Grows On Your Knees” is a shivery slice of indie pop out of the old New York art-punk tradition. It’s noisy and lurching and utterly captivating. AND you, yourself, can hear it, because I have a copy of the 7″ to give away.
I love 7″ records; something about their size and shape just appeals to me the most, aesthetically. This one is green vinyl, and also contains a CD version of the two tracks on the 7″, and an honest-to-goodness jigsaw puzzle. One lucky person gets to put that puzzle together!
Listen to the first single, “Stuttering Song II”, below, and leave a comment if you’d like to have the 7″. I’ll pick a commenter at random on Monday, which will be a good excuse to go to the post office, since I totally owe about six of you things in the mail.
Radiation City’s dreamy retro girl group fuzz garage pop debut, The Hands That Take You, really flew under the radar when it came out in 2011, and that’s a shame, because it’s a fantastic soundscape of harmony and guitar feedback and thick Phil Spektor shivers. Everybody’s getting ready for SXSW (no, I’m not going; I’m going to the beach instead, and the beach is better than SXSW, true story) and trying to stand out, and Radiation City managed it for me: this cover of a classic is lush and fuzzy and grabs both the center of Gilberto’s original song and the uniqueness that makes Radiation City a band to watch. Stream or download it below, and West Coasters, check out their tour dates as they head to Austin.